Site Update: Ahas and FAQs for articles

Get the Math, Better Explained eBook and turn Huh? to Aha!

I’ve just added a new feature to the site: an Aha / FAQ section for each article.

You can add an aha! moment or question, and vote / discuss them individually. This extends aha.betterexplained.com, making mini-posts for key ideas in an article. Why?

Mine the gold in the comments

Several articles have awesome discussions, like understanding e. There’s gems, but unfortunately they’re buried inside hundreds of comments, which is tough to read through.

If we can extract and rate key insights, we can build a “living FAQ” of what’s most helpful. These are good branching points for new articles as well.

Better collaboration

I love chatting math and finding new learning approaches. A few examples:

  • Audrey McGoldrick made an awesome animated slideshow explaining the introduction to calculus.

  • Joshua Zucker helped me refine my recent “functions are plates, derivatives are breaking plates into shards, integrals are weighing the pieces” analogy, and corrected a huge misconception about integrals and anti-derivatives.

  • Stan and YatharthROCK have been helping me develop ideas on aha.betterexplained.com (thanks guys).

The aha / question area is like a mini-forum to discuss analogies. (Teachers, please ransack these insights and whatever is useful — every article is free to use, print, mime, etc. for non-commercial use). The goal is to enable conversations about what is actually working.

Continual improvement

I have a nefarious plan for the widget: gather improvements for each article! Knowing exactly what parts of the article helped (or didn’t) makes it easier to keep revising: I want the analogies to sing.

Try it out

The aha section is new, there’ll be some bugs, but I’d love your feedback anyway:

  1. Share what really worked. As you read articles, post what analogies helped the most.

  2. Ask questions. Have a question that’s been bothering you? Add it!

  3. Vote on what’s helping. Just click the heart to rate an insight or question.

The aha section isn’t a replacement for comments — it’s a way to organize the best parts. If there’s other types of “aha” items you’d like organized (Followup:, Example:, etc.) let me know!

Kalid Azad loves sharing Aha! moments. BetterExplained is dedicated to learning with intuition, not memorization, and is honored to serve 250k readers monthly.

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4 Comments

  1. What a great idea, Kalid. I find it fascinating to watch something like this evolve, especially when the evolution is driven by the people using it. This way everything and everyone moves forward, and even if we don’t know exactly where we’ll end up, we’re walking together. Wow corny. But true!

  2. Thanks Audrey! Yep, I’m interested in seeing where it goes, I’m mostly trying to build what I think will help organize some of my disparate thoughts. It’s all about the journey! =)

  3. @kalid Love the idea! This way you can get feedback on what worked and do it again. But I think they’re being abused. Many people think they’re a replacement for comments, and since they’re above comments, they’re more visible.

    Like how ping-backs are better than crawling Google as you get high-quality and fewer (more might intimidate people) results, the same way this should work. I think you should have a “Convert to Comment” button, like on some versions of StackExchange. Also, a big poster explaining this might help.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and get more intuitions work :)

  4. BTW, are the Ahas and the comments processed similarly? i.e., can we use all the Markdown stuff we can use in the comments?

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LaTeX: $$e=mc^2$$